Scott Emr, director of the Weill Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology and professor of molecular biology and genetics, has been elected an associate member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), an honor bestowed upon only a few Americans each year.
Established in 1964, EMBO includes some of the leading researchers in Europe and elects new members annually based on proven excellence in research. EMBO members represent a high-profile cross section of researchers from all fields of molecular life sciences, ranging from developmental biology, genomics, molecular medicine, neuroscience and plant biology to systems biology. The organization has 1,360 members and only about 90 associate members worldwide. EMBO membership includes 48 Nobel Prize winners.
"I was completely surprised but very delighted" when hearing of the election results, said Emr. "It recognizes the contributions of many talented students and postdoctoral fellows who have worked with me over the past 25 years."
"Scott Emr's election as a member of EMBO represents international recognition of his many outstanding scientific achievements," said Anthony Bretscher, Weill Institute associate director. "As far as I am aware, Dr. Emr is the first Cornell faculty member to be elected an EMBO member."
Emr has been invited to attend the 2009 EMBO Meeting in Amsterdam next fall.
Emr, who joined the Cornell faculty in 2007, works on uncovering the molecular details of essential processes that occur in all cells. He has helped explain how proteins get in and out of cells -- processes called endocytosis and secretion -- that have provided other scientists with new pathways and targets for cutting-edge research on virology, HIV/AIDS, cancer, immunology, development and neurobiology. His research has shown how proteins/hormones attach to receptors on a cell's surface, become encapsulated in vesicles as they forge into the cell's body and are delivered to compartments within the cells. Similarly, he has shown that in the process of secretion, such proteins as insulin are produced within cells and carried by vesicles to the cell's surface, where the vesicle fuses with the cell's membrane, and the proteins are released outside the cell.
Emr earned his Ph.D. in microbiology and molecular genetics at Harvard University in 1981. Prior to joining the Cornell faculty, he was a professor of cellular and molecular medicine at the University of California-San Diego School of Medicine and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.